Children with special health care needs should have a choice in what happens in their lives, especially as they become adults. There are things that family caregivers can do to help their child self-advocate and learn how to make good decisions.
On April 6, 2015, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) was successful in terminating the guardianship of a 27-year-old woman in Jackson, MI. The client, who will be referred to by the pseudonym "Monica" to protect her identity, was the victim of a catastrophic automobile accident when she was ten years old that left her paralyzed from the waist down. When she was 16, she was emancipated from her parents' custody and their parental rights were revoked. From that time forward, Monica capably managed her own life and care, until July 2013, when she was placed under guardianship by the Macomb County Probate Court.
I am honored to present the first guest blog for the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making. I am proud to work with the National Resource Center and wholeheartedly endorse its goal of protecting and advancing the rights of older adults and people with disabilities to make their own choices and determine their paths and directions in life.
About a year-and-a-half ago (time really does fly!), I had the honor of meeting, representing, and most importantly, becoming friends with Jenny Hatch. When I met her, Jenny was living in a group home, where she didn’t want to live. Each day, she went to a sheltered workshop to do work she didn’t like in a place she didn’t want to be, for less than minimum wage. She wasn’t allowed to see her closest friends. If you wanted to talk to her, you had to fill out a permission slip.